Remember when…

Remember that one time I wrote my prosectus? Yeah, me too! Didn’t it seem like it took forever?!? I know, right? And I’m so glad is ov… but, er, well, I’m still not quite finished with that.

Last night I sent what *could* be the final draft of the prospectus to Advisor. It was down to One Sentence, and I’m hoping that One Sentence will do its job. This is, of course, a process that has lasted at least six months, and that’s only counting the part when I was attempting to type words into a word processing software.

This process is often hidden. While everyone knows writing a book (or book length project) takes time, few realize the process of such a project. Part of my assistantship is to go through all of the course evaluations completed by undergraduate students who have taken our writing courses. Overall, our numbers are overwhelmingly positive, and students greatly appreciate help with their writing.  But there are always a few that are negative, idiotic, or even shockingly hostile. I’ve done this for three semesters now, and my absolute favorite comments (from a second or third year undergrad, mind you) go something like this: “I already know how to write, so this class was a waste of my time,” or “I’m a pretty good writer and I don’t think [TA’s] feedback was helpful.” Really? Isn’t that precious?

To such comments, I reply:

Once upon a time, I struggled to start writing a prospectus. And then, I wrote a version of it, and revised it. And added to that and came up with a complete draft. And revised some more. And even more. And, well, you get the idea. Then, I sent it to my committee. And then, I even Defended the Prospectus! Hooray!!!

Oh, but wait. I then revised three sections again. And revised them again. And then revised two of them. And again. And then one of them yet again. And again. And then it came down to the One Sentence.

So, bless your heart, dear student, bless your heart. It’s possible you Really Do Know How to Write. I used to think that, too. But I have a feeling that we’re all just beginning to get the idea of Knowing How to Write.

What I know is that this six-month writing process has been Really Really Hard. And once I’m assured that One Sentence is serviceable, I will reflect on how this process has been so rewarding and satisfying, etc.

But until then, I think it is wise to not hold my breath.

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